Cadillac V-Performance racing team Konica Minolta won its fourth race in a row taking the victory in this afternoon's IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Advanced Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. The Whelen Engineering Cadillac and the Mustang Sampling Cadillac came to the checker in second and third, respectively, to complete the all-Cadillac podium in the Lone Star state.
Under sunny skies and 85-degree temperatures, Ricky Taylor led the field to the green flag in the No.10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. The first caution of the race came at an opportune time within the pit window for the front running Cadillac DPi-V.R. As the race progressed, Ricky handed over the car to brother Jordan one-hour-and-twenty-three minutes into the race. Jordan made the team's last pit stop with 30-minutes to go, electing not to take tires. He then proceeded to run good clean laps, taking care of his Continental tires to go on for the team's fourth straight win of the season.
"Qualifying was unique, with how big our gap was," Jordan Taylor said. "We put a qualifying set-up on the car, which is why we had such an advantage on the timing screen. When the race went green Ricky was in clean air and ran great laps. When I got in, I had the advantage of having a good car that was set-up great. Our team won here last year and we were second two years ago. We have always had a good car here at COTA. We stretched our last stop that helped to extend our gap at the end. That was a critical moment."
"I think the guys are really getting to know this Cadillac DPi-V.R," Ricky Taylor said. "It was slippery running out there, a lot of pick-up on the tire. With the yellows, when they reset the field, it made the first few laps on restarts tricky. But, we were in clean air, so that helped. All of the knowledge from running here over the years and how the track changes from qualifying to the race helped us. To finish with such a strong race car is great. We have won four straight. I really can't figure out if we have an edge. We have taken advantage of the preseason testing with all of the partners that built the car. We have really got to know the new Continental tire as well, which is a key. All the partners have worked together to develop a great race car."
Driving the No.31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac, Eric Curran started the two hour and 40-minute race. He was locked in a battle with the ESM Nissan until that car had on track contact. Turning over to teammate Dane Cameron, he was able to hold off a late run by the Mustang Sampling Cadillac to finish second.
"It is nice to get back up on the podium after our rough run at Long Beach," Cameron said. "Second is good, but not quite where we needed to be all weekend. We lacked some balance and speed in the car. We weren't able to get it fully dialed in this weekend. The best we could of hoped for was to be second to the No. 10 car. Hats off to them, they were the class of the field all weekend. We will have to take the best of the rest today. We will put our heads down and get this thing figured and give them a harder time in Detroit in a few weeks."
"Overall good day for our Whelen Cadillac," Curran said. "I had a good run in the beginning racing the ESM car. The rest of the day it was us against the No. 5. We didn't have anything for the 10. It is a great day for Cadillac a 1-2-3 finish. We need to get this Whelen Cadillac a little bit better for the next race. It is fun to come here to the Circuit of The Americas, but we are looking forward to running in GM's backyard in Detroit next month."
Christian Fittipaldi had the wheel of the No.5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac. He had a clean stint and handed over to Joao Barbosa in third. With just about 30-minutes remaining, Barbosa ran out of fuel on pit lane and the crew from the Whelen Engineering team helped to push the car to the pit box for a splash of gas. With just 13-minutes remaining, Barbosa was able to get past the ESM Nissan to complete the podium sweep for Cadillac.
"It was an eventful race for me," Barbosa said. "We started the weekend a little slow, but we made great progress. We are lacking some speed to the 10. They are doing a great job with the Cadillac. Our team has won the last three championships, so I believe we will be fighting for wins very soon. We made a little risky call on strategy to stretch the fuel. I had to get a push from the 31 crew guys to get me into the pit box from halfway down the pit lane. I need to thank them. I fell to sixth place and was able to come back to third and save a lot points."
"Not a lot was happening at the beginning," Fittipaldi said. "These cars are pretty sensitive when they are running close behind a fast car. Eric Curran was having a good race with the 22 car. I just had to pace myself, at that point you have the whole race to lose. You need to understand the car and run clean laps. Then, we just communicate to the pits to make the car better for the next driver. We tried to stretch the fuel and that didn't work out. We dropped to P6, so I am happy to finish P3 today."
At COTA the Cadillac DPi-V.R had an adjustment to its gear ratios, which hampered exit acceleration speeds out of the 20-turns at the undulating natural terrain road course located southeast of Austin.
The IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship will travel to Detroit for the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic to run June 2-3.
*From team media release
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